Driver's licenseFirst German driving school in 1906, Aschaffenburg Current EU driving licence, German version - front
1. Family name
2. Given name(s)
3. Date and place of birth
4a. Issuing date
4b. Expiry date (non-existent for German driving licences)
4c. Issuing authority
5. Licence number
7. Signature of bearer
German version reverse
9. Licence categories
10. Issue date of the category
11. Expiry date of the category
12. Restrictions (number coded)
A driver's license, driver's licence, driver license, driver licence, or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck, or a bus. In some jurisdictions, driver's licenses are issued after the recipient has passed a driving test, while in others, a person acquires a license before beginning to drive. (This is largely a matter of nomenclature—generally an official document by some name is required to undertake practical driving in either case.) Different categories of license may exist for different types of motor vehicles. The difficulty of the driving test may vary considerably between regions, as do prerequisites such as age restrictions and the required level of tuition.
- 1 History
- 2 Identification
- 3 Organ donations
- 4 Driving licence by region
- 5 Special licenses
- 6 International considerations
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
France and Germany were among the earliest countries to require mandatory driver licensing, right at the start of the 20th century. As automobile-related fatalities soared in North America, public outcry provoked legislators to begin studying the French and German statutes as models.
On August 1, 1910, North America's first driver licensing law went into effect in the U.S. state of New York, though it initially applied only to professional chauffeurs. In July of 1913, the state of New Jersey became the first to require all drivers to pass a mandatory examination before receiving a licence.
Because a large number of countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States have no national identification cards and because of the widespread use of cars, driving licences are often used as a de facto standard form of identification.
These U.S. states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin require licences and ID cards issued to those under 21 to have a vertical orientation instead of the usual horizontal one in order to aid in determining whether one is of legal drinking age. California and Oregon have adopted a similar system for their licences, having the picture appear on the right for drivers under 21 and on the left for drivers 21 and older. New York, on the other hand, prints "Under 21" in red bold letters on the licences of minor and young adult drivers, but otherwise these licences look identical to those for older adults. North Carolina recently started a color program for varying age groups: A red border indicates the driver is under 18, a yellow border for ages 18-20, and a green border for those 21 and over, as well as "Under 18" or "Under 21" written down the right side of the driver's picture if they are under 18 or 21. Many states also add information to their licences, such as "Under 21 until 08-15-2007" to aid in enforcing the drinking age and age of majority of 18 (for tobacco and lottery in most states).
Many European countries and Canada require drivers to produce their licence on demand when driving. In such countries, the driver must always carry their licence on them when driving. In the United Kingdom, it is not necessary for drivers to carry their driving licence while driving.
A few European countries also require adults to carry an ID card at all times. Citizens of EU countries which have no national ID cards have to carry their passports when travelling within EU and outside of their home countries, even within Schengen borders, whether driving or not.
A minimum driving age often exists regardless of possession of a foreign licence; an American cannot drive below the local minimum age in Europe, nor can a 17-year-old Briton drive in mainland Europe where the minimum age is 18.
In the People's Republic of China, the drivings licence number is synonymous with the citizen's ID number (which is up to 18 digits long).
Similarly, Saudi Arabia requires all drivers to carry an ID card in addition to a licence and present them whenever requested. Using a driving licence instead is only permitted if the request is made for on-site inspection/identification purposes, especially at check points. Expatriates may be requested to present their visas as well.
Many countries have established a driving licence exchange arrangement after reviews of the foreign jurisdiction's licensing processes. Where standards in the other jurisdiction are comparable in areas such as medical standards, minimum driving age, and knowledge and road testing, an exchange (or honoring) of the foreign jurisdiction's licence may occur. 
In Hong Kong the driving licence has the same number as the HK ID card, yet is without a picture and is always given along with the ID card when being inspected.
Licensing bureaus in many countries add an organ donation option on licence forms. Sometimes a small picture of a "heart" or the term Organ Donor is printed on the driving licence to indicate that the holder has agreed to donate his or her organs in the event of sudden death in a car crash or other accident.
In the United States, this is governed by the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. In the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Ireland, willingness to donate organs for transplantion is also listed on driving licences. In Australia, the system of notating organ donation requests on licences was replaced in July 2005 with a national registration system and the issue of special cards.
Driving licence by region
Varies from state to state some as young as 14 others 17.
- Main article: Driver's licence in Canada
- Main article: Driver's license in the United States
Every vehicle driver must carry the driving licence (Licencia de Conducir), which is issued by a special education department (Dirección General Educación Vial) of the ministry of transportation and public infrastructure (Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transporte).
For this licence to be granted there are three needed tests, practical driving (Includes driving a car in simulated streets), theoretical driving (A multiple selection written test based on booklet issued by the education department or after taken a special course), and finally a medical test performed by a medical practitioner that test eyesight, blood pressure and attests the presence of other diseases and behavior of the driver.
Every citizen can solicit the driving licence at age 18, after being issued by first time, the licence must be renewed after two years, and every successive occasion after seven years.
Besides this document the driver must carry the national identity card (Cédula de Identidad), however both documents use the same identification number, being the national identity card the basis of the driving licence number.
Usually, people over 18 years old can get a Driver's Licence
Asiav • d • eDriving licence in Asia
Afghanistan · Armenia · Azerbaijan1 · Bahrain · Bangladesh · Bhutan · Brunei · Burma (Myanmar) · Cambodia · China · Cyprus · East Timor1 · Egypt1 · Georgia1 · Hong Kong · India · Indonesia1 · Iran · Iraq · Israel · Japan · Jordan · Kazakhstan1 · Korea (North Korea · South Korea) · Kuwait · Kyrgyzstan · Laos · Lebanon · Macau · Malaysia · Maldives · Mongolia · Nepal · Northern Cyprus2 · Oman · Pakistan · People's Republic of China · Palestinian territories3 · Philippines · Qatar · Republic of China · Russia1 · Saudi Arabia · Singapore · Sri Lanka · Syria · Taiwan · Tajikistan · Thailand · Turkey1 · Turkmenistan · United Arab Emirates · Uzbekistan · Vietnam · Yemen11 Transcontinental country. 2 Only recognised by Turkey. 3 Not fully independent.
Europev • d • eDriving licence in Europe Sovereign
Albania · Andorra · Armenia1 · Austria · Azerbaijan2 · Belarus · Belgium · Bosnia and Herzegovina · Bulgaria · Croatia · Cyprus1 · Czech Republic · Denmark4 · Estonia · Finland · France4, 5, 6 · Georgia2 · Germany · Greece · Hungary · Iceland · Republic of Ireland · Italy · Kazakhstan3 · Latvia · Liechtenstein · Lithuania · Luxembourg · Republic of Macedonia · Malta · Moldova · Monaco · Montenegro · Netherlands · Norway · Poland · Portugal · Romania · Russia3 · San Marino · Serbia · Slovakia · Slovenia · Spain6 · Sweden · Switzerland · Turkey3 · Ukraine · United Kingdom (England • Northern Ireland • Scotland • Wales)1 Entirely in Southwest Asia. 2 Partially or entirely in Asia, depending on the border definitions. 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 Has part of its territory in Asia / North America / South America / Africa.
- See also: European Driving Licence
- Main article: Driver licence in Australia
- Main article: Driver licensing in New Zealand
In a number of countries (including United States, New Zealand and some provinces of Canada) persons who drive commercially (especially truckers and taxi drivers) are required to have special licenses. For taxicab drivers, these licenses are usually called Chauffeur Permits. In most cases, commercial truckers must hold a commercial driver's license or CDL. In India, a commercial driving license is valid for 5 years while an individual license is valid for 20 years. In the United Kingdom, one must hold a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) license to drive a vehicle with more than eight passenger seats for hire or reward, or a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) license to drive a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight (Maximum Authorized Mass) in excess of 3500 kg. Special licenses can also be required in order to transport hazardous materials. The cost of taking the series of tests and examinations to obtain these licenses usually means that an employer would subsidize their drivers.
In India, people aged more than 50 years have to undergo strict medical tests in order to obtain a license. The license validity is 5 years and requires renewal every 5 years.
Physically Disabled Permits, are given out to those who are under the age of 13 years. These permits are given out from the State Government to those minors whom live with someone who has a physical disability and is unable to drive. These licenses are rare, and only 10-20 are given out each year in the United States.
The holder of a licence from any European Union member country can drive in any other EU country. Most countries worldwide will also recognize the licences of citizens of foreign states wishing to drive as visitors. All EU member countries now issue licences in a standard format, regardless of the language of the licence.
The International Driving Permit (IDP) (sometimes erroneously called the International Driver's Licence) is a booklet which is an authorized translation of a driver's home licence into many languages (especially languages with different scripts such as Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.). In some cases, it is obtained from a motoring organization such as the Automobile Association or the equivalent in the driver's home country. In other cases, it is delivered by the same government services that deliver ordinary licences. The IDP has no validity except when used in conjunction with the driver's own licence. The existence of the IDP is necessitated by many countries refusing to recognize driving licences written in foreign languages without accompanying translations.
The People's Republic of China at present does not recognize IDPs (although Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan do) and requires drivers to get an additional PRC licence before being officially allowed on all roads.
Issues when moving permanently from one country to another
Most licence-issuing authorities require holders of "foreign" licences taking up residence in their jurisdiction to obtain a local driving licence within a limited time (typically 6 months or 1 year). In most cases, the driver must follow the full local procedure for obtaining a licence, but some jurisdictions have mutual recognition agreements and will exchange the foreign licence for a local one without the need to undertake an additional driving test.
An exception is the EU, where licences do not need to be exchanged since the introduction of the common EU-driving-licence scheme.
Ontario has a reciprocal licence exchange scheme  for :
- Canadian provinces and territories;
- Canadian Forces Europe;
- United States (applicants from Illinois, New Jersey and Vermont must provide a driving abstract dated within 6 months)
British Columbia has a reciprocal licence exchange scheme for :
The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA), which licences drivers in England, Scotland, and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, exchanges full licences issued by:
- Northern Ireland,
- European Community/European Economic Area,
- the Isle of Man,
- Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada (by default, Canadian driving licences will only be exchanged for licences to drive automatic transmission cars, unless documentary evidence is provided that a manual shift test was passed in Canada), Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.
As stated on the application form for direct issue of full Hong Kong driving licence(Rev. 7/2006), one can be eligible to direct issue of a Hong Kong driving licence provided that he or she must satisfy the Commissioner with documentary evidence that:
- one has a full driving licence (but not an International driving permit) during the past three years issued by one of the following countries or places : Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, People’s Republic of China (includes: The Mainland, Taiwan, Macau), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Republic of South Africa (together with Namibia), United Kingdom (together with Alderney, Bermuda, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey), United States of America.
- the driving entitlement(s) for which one is applying must be equivalent to the class(es) which are authorized to drive by the issuing country or place; and
- one's driving licence was obtained by passing the relevant driving test(s) in the issuing country or place; and
- satisfies one of the three requirements below:
- the licence was originally issued on any date during a period of residence of not less than 6 months in the country or place of issue (one may prove the
six-month residence with the entry and departure stamps on your passport, school transcript or employer's testimonial with employment period specified.); or
- the licence has been issued for not less than 5 years immediately prior to the application; or
- hold a passport or an equivalent travel document of the country or place in which your licence was issued.
Consecutive Licenses Exchange
Theoretically as seen from the above exchange arrangement list, this kind of reciprocal licence exchange scheme might become a backdoor for a person with a driver licence issued by a country with less stringent driving test system (or even through purchase or bribery) to exchange for a licence issued by a more reputable country without the need of any driving test.
For example, subject to fulfilling the other licence exchange requirements, a Pakistan or PRC driving licence holder can exchange for a Hong Kong driver licence first. Then exchange for a United Kingdom full licence and in turn convert for an Ontario province licence in Canada.
- Commercial driver's license
- Driver's Education
- Learner's permit
- International Drivers License
- International Driving Permit
- Road-traffic safety
- ^ The form driver's license is used in the United States; its alternative spelling driver's licence is used in Canada and Australia. The form driver license is used in the United States; its alternative spelling driver licence is found in Australia and New Zealand. The form driving licence is used in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Malta, in European Union official usage, in former British colonies such as Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, and Singapore, as well as in Israel, where the term was driving permit before 12 September 2006.
- ^ Anonymous, "Better Auto Laws Are Now Needed," New York Times, 18 August 1907, S3.
- ^ Frederick H. Elliott, "Working Out New Auto Law In New York," New York Times 16 October 1910, 3.
- ^ Anonymous, "New York's Auto Exports Increase—Big Jump in Cars Shipped Last Year—New Jersey Examines All Drivers," New York Times, 14 July 1913, 11.
- ^ Road traffic | Home Office
- ^ France
- ^ Transport - Driving licence
- ^ DriveTest - Exchanging a Reciprocal Licence
- ^ Directgov *'exchange driving licence' interactive tool
- ^ Application For Direct Issue Of Full Hong Kong Driving Licence
- ^ Trasport Department of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR - Driving in Hong Kong for Overseas Driving Licence Holders
- Information from the European Union in driving licences throughout the Community
- New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority
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